The History Of Toyota Celica
The Toyota Celica name has been applied to a series of popular coupes made by the Japanese company Toyota. The name is ultimately derived from the Latin word coelica (IPA [selika]) meaning "heavenly" or "celestial".
Throughout its life span the Celica has been powered by various four cylinder engines. The most significant change occurred in 1986, when the car's drive layout was changed from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive. During the first three generations, American market Celicas were powered by various versions of Toyota's R series engines. A four-wheel drive turbocharged model (designated All-trac in the US or GT-Four in Japan and Europe) was produced from 1986 to 2000. Variable Valve Timing came in late 1997 Japanese models, and became standard in all models from 2000 on. Through seven generations, the model has gone through many revisions and design forks, including the Toyota Celica Supra (later known as the Toyota Supra). The Celica was available as notchback and liftback coupes, as well as a convertible.
The first generation Celica was released to the Japanese market in late 1970, and targeted to be a more affordable alternative to Toyota's sportscar, the 2000GT.
Displayed at the 1970 Tokyo Motor Show in October, and marketed in December of the same year, the Celica was a personal car that emphasized styling and driving enjoyment. Japanese models were ET, LT, ST, GT, and GTV.
For export markets, the Celica was offered in three different levels of trim; LT, ST and GT. The lower-end LT was equipped with the single carbureted four-cylinder 2T engine displacing 1600cc, while the ST came with a twin downdraft-carburetor 2T-B engine. The 2T-G that powered the high-end GT model was a DOHC 1600 cc engine equipped with twin Mikini-Solex Carburettors. All early Celicas were pillarless hardtops with the Liftback model exported from 1976, however, the Liftback was available in Japan from 1973.
The Japanese GT models had various differences from the ET, LT and ST including the hood flutes, power windows, air conditioning, and specific GT trim, but shared a few things with the ST - a full-length centre console and oil pressure/ ammeter gauges whilst the LT had warning lights for these functions.
There was also the GTV version, which had the 2T-G engine, a slightly cut-down interior, and did not come standard with things like power windows, but they were optional. The GTV has firmer suspension.
The first generation Celicas can be further broken down into two distinctive models. The first of these was the original with slant nose (trapezoid-like shape front corner light). This is for Coupe model only, TA22, RA20, and RA21. These models were released from 1970 to 1975 and came equipped with the 2T, 2T-G 1.6 liter, or 18R 2.0 liter motor. They had a 95" wheelbase. The second series (98" wheelbase) had a flat nose (square front corner light) and slightly longer wheelbase. This facelift model appeared in Japan in 1974, but for export was the 1976 model year.
The first Celica for North America, 1971 ST was powered by 1.9 liter 8R engine. The 1972-1974 models have 2.0 liter 18R-C engines. For 1975-1977, the engine for the North American Celica is the 2.2 liter 20R. The Celica GT and LT models were introduced in the U.S. for the 1974 model year. The top-line GT included a 5-speed manual transmission, rocker panel GT stripes, and styled steel wheels with chrome trim rings. The LT was marketed as an economy model. Mid-1974 saw minor changes in the Celica's trim and badges. The automatic transmission became an option on North American ST and LT models starting in the 1973 model year. For 1975, the '74 body was used, but body-color plastic fascia and sturdier chrome and black rubber bumpers, replaced the chrome bumpers used in the earlier cars (in accordance with US Federal bumper laws).
The Liftback was introduced for Japanese market in April 1973, but not until 1976 for export models. Models for home market Liftback were 1600ST, 1600GT (TA27), 2000ST, and 2000GT (RA25 and RA28). The American Liftback is a GT (RA29) with a 2.2 liter 20R engine. All the Liftback models, which are commonly referred to as the 'Mustang' shape, have flat noses. Although there is no "B" pillar in the Liftback, the rear windows do not roll down (as they do in the hardtop coupe).
Although they looked the same, there were a few minor visible differences. The facelifted coupe is coded RA23 with an 18R engine, or RA24 with a 20R engine. Also available was the TA23, which was similar to the RA23, but with the T-Series engine. The RA23 and RA28 had a more distinctive bulge in the bonnet, or hood, which was lacking in the TA22 or RA20 Coupe and in the TA27 and RA25 Liftback Celica. The TA22 Celica also had removable vents mounted in the bonnet, which the RA23 and RA28 lacked. The RA series also had an elongated nose to accommodate the larger engine. The door vents, fuel filler cap, and interior were also different between the TA and RA series.
For 1976-1977, the Liftback was released with 18R-GU Twincam engine with a Yamaha head and running gear. This engine produced significantly more power than the 18R-C. Peak power was about 100 kW @ 6000rpm.
In Australia, the Celica was first released in the 1.6L 2T motor. The later 1975-1977 Celica was released with the 2.0L 18R motor.
The very first entry for Celica in the World Rally Championship was in the 1972 RAC Rally, when Ove Andersson drove a TA22 1600GTV into ninth place.
The Liftback was often called the "Japanese Mustang" or the "Mustang Celica" because of the styling similarities to the Ford Mustang pony car, including the triple bar tail lights that are a signature Mustang styling cue and the overall homages to the muscle-car era.
Thesecondgeneration Celica was released for 1978 model year (production began in late 1977), and was again available in both Coupe and Liftback forms. The Coupe was no longer a true hardtop; both Coupe and Liftback had frameless door glass but featured a thick "B" pillar. David Stollery was responsible for its design. From 1979 to 1981 the Griffith company in the USA offered a Targa style convertible conversion to the Coupe. They were called the SunChaser and had a removable Targa top and a folding rear roof, much like the '67 Porsche 911 soft-window Targa. These were Toyota approved and sold through Toyota dealers. Over 2000 were produced.
In 1978 Toyota began production of the Mark I Toyota Supra in Japan, as the Toyota Celica XX. The year it debuted in the United States and Japan was in 1979. The USA Mark I (chassis code MA46) was originally equipped with a 110hp (82kW) 2.6L (2563cc) 12-valve SOHC inline-6 engine (4M-E). Simultaneously in 1979, the Japanese Mark I (chassis code MA45) was offered with a 110hp (82kW) 2.0 L 12-valve SOHC inline-6 engine (M-EU). Both were the first Toyota engines equipped with electronic fuel injection.
The second generation Celica can also be broken down into two series of release (known as Series A and Series B). These two Celicas were only distinguishable by appearance - both having the same engine capacity. Series A Celicas (1978-1979) were released with round headlights and chrome bumpers for lower grades. The higher grades such as GT and all US models have black rubber bumpers. The Series B Celica (1980-1981) was released with square headlights and black rubber bumpers and various other 'minor' differences.
Power for North American models was provided by a 2.2L 20R engine for both ST and GT models. Japan and other markets had 1.6, 1.8, and 2.0 liter powerplants. This new generation offered more safety, power and fuel economy than previous models, and was awarded Motor Trend's "Import Car of the Year" for 1978. Japanese models were ET, LT, ST, SE, XT, GT, and GTV. The GT and GTV have an 18R-G Twincam engine. In late 1978, the GTV was replaced by GT Rally.
In 1980, a four-door version was announced, known as the Toyota Celica Camry. This model was a Toyota Carina with a Celica front end. The Camry was spun off as its own model two years later.
The limited edition "US Grand Prix" GT Liftback was offered in 1980 due to Toyota's connection to the U.S. Grand Prix West in Long Beach, California. For 1981, the North American models were given a bigger engine, the 2.4 liter 22R from the 4Runner and Pickup. To celebrate the Celica 10th Anniversary, the GTA Coupe was released. This was basically a GT Coupe with 3 speed automatic transmission, special color, upgraded sound system and alloys.
There were about 70 different models of 2nd generation Celica ever sold in Japan, although at one time there were 49.
Year 1982 saw the introduction of the third generation Celica. The car was available in coupe, liftback and convertible forms, with many buyers biased toward the liftback. Styling was changed considerably from previous models and power was provided by a 2.4 L 22-R or 22R-E engine in all North American models, while carbureted 2.0 L I4 engine (namely a 2S-C) was also used. Other engines for Japanese models were 1.6 liter 2T, 1.8 liter 3T and 1S, and 2.0 liter 18R-G. Trim levels are SV, ST, ST-EFI, SX, GT, and GT Rally.
In September 1982, the first Celica turbo was launched in Japan. The GT-T had a 1.8 liter 3T-GTE engine. To meet the FISA regulation for Group B Rally Car to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC), 200 units Celica GT-TS were built. These were the basic car for Group B Celica Twincam Turbo (TA64) which were built and rallied by Toyota Team Europe (TTE).
In 1983, Toyota added the GT-S model to the Celica line to re-inject the sports image that Celica had lost as it grew larger and heavier with each subsequent model. The GT-S included larger wheels and tires, fender flares, independent rear suspension, a sports interior including special seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob. There were also optional rear louvers for the coupe and liftback. The upgraded GT-S wheels are coveted as replacements by many people who own first generation Celicas as they remained four-lug and looked sportier than first generation wheels while still providing the "classic Celica" look and feel.
Minor changes were given in late 1983 for the 1984 model year and distinguished by the redesigned front end, with fully-closed retractable headlights. Side vents, Hood, grille, tail lights, and bumpers were also new. The GT-R and GT-TR (turbo) were added to the Japanese line-up.
Fuel injection became standard on all North American Celicas in 1985, therefore the 22R engine became 22R-E.
The GT-S Convertible, built by American Specialty Cars (ASC) in California, released 200 units in 1984, and 4,248 units for the 1985 model year.
In Australia, Toyota decided initially to use the 21R-C in the dulled-down model Celica. As a result the car only turned out a mere 67 kW (89 hp). However, this was later replaced, firstly, by the far quicker 73kW 2S-C motor and then by the injected 2.4 litre motor (22R-E) which provided 87 kW. Local testing deemed that this was probably too much power for local car's live axle rear end and recirculating ball steering.
Australia, European and Japanese model Celicas came with rear side vents, which are highly sought after by North American Celica enthusiasts.
In Europe, the Celica was offered as 1600ST with 2T engine, 2000XT (21R), and 2000GT (18R-G).
In Japan, the Celica was offered many engines from the 2T, 3T, and 4A engine family.
For1986,the Celica was changed completely. It was an all-new vehicle with front wheel drive, a rounded, flowing body and new 2.0 L four-cylinder engines. In North America, the Celica was again available in ST, GT and GT-S trim as either coupe or liftback models, with the GT being offered as a soft-top convertible as well. ST and GT came with a SOHC 8 valve, 2.0 L, 97 hp 2S-E engine from the Camry, but quickly changed to an all new DOHC 116 hp engine 3S-FE for the 1987 model year, also shared with the Camry. The GT-S was given a 135 hp version of the DOHC 2.0 L engine (3S-GE) featuring T-VIS.
FortheJapanese market, Toyota introduced the "ultimate Celica": the GT-Four (ST165) in October 1986. With full-time all wheel drive, including an electronically controlled central locking differential, and a turbocharged version of the GT-S 2.0 L engine producing 190hp (3S-GTE), it immediately took its place as the flagship of the Celica range, and became the official Toyota rally car for all years of production. The GT-Four, with a revised viscous coupling central locking differential, began exporting for the 1988 model year and marketed in North America as the All-trac Turbo. The All-trac system also was offered for a limited time on the Camry, Previa, and Corolla in North America.
The ST165 chassis design was already quite acclaimed in its time. http://autospeed.com/ cms/ A_1820/ article.html Toyota chose not to make any drastic suspension changes for the AWD GT4; The front suspension comprises MacPherson struts with an anti-swaybar and strut tower brace, while the rear employs struts with a trailing link and twin lateral links per side plus an anti-swaybar.
In 1988, the ST163 with 4S-Fi engine was added into the Japanese line up in ST and SX trim levels. The 3S-FE powered 2.0 Z-R was positioned between SX and GT-R. However, in Australia the 2.0 SX with 3S-GE engine was the top of the line.
The ST165 GT-Four made its World Rally debut in the 1988 Tour de Corse and finished 6th. The first victory came in 1988 Cyprus (non-WRC), and the first WRC victory in 1989 Rally Australia.
In some European countries these models were available instead:
Thefifthgeneration Celica was introduced in September 1989 for the 1990 model year. The Celica received new organic styling, upgraded wheels and tires, and a more powerful GT-Four (US: All-Trac). Japanese domestic market (JDM) models were now S-R, Z-R, GT-R, Active Sports (with active suspension), and GT-Four. The S-R and Z-R were powered by a 3S-FE engine, while the GT-R and Active Sports came with a 3S-GE. The 3S-GTE in the GT-Four features an air-to-air intercooler and CT26 twin entry turbo to eliminate exhaust gas interference. The JDM GT-Four has 225 PS (165 kW/ 221 hp) of power and 304 Nm (224 lb ft) of torque, a result of more aggressive ignition advance and ceramic turbine. The Full-time 4WD system in the GT-Four has viscous coupling limited slip center differential and Torsen rear differential.
TheNorthAmerican Celica had fixed door mirrors and amber front corner lights. All other models had folding mirrors and clear corner lights. Driver's side SRS Airbag is standard on all US models. The base model ST has 1.6 L 4A-FE, the GT and GT-S were powered by the 2.2 L 5S-FE. The GT-S and all export market GT-Four are wide-body Liftbacks with flared fenders. The JDM GT-Four was also offered as normal body.
Trim levels for Europe are 1.6 ST-i, 2.0 GT-i 16, and GT-Four. The 2.0 GT-i 16 Cabriolet was offered only in certain European countries. For 1992, the wide body 2.0 GT-i 16 was offered in the Netherlands and Belgium. This is basically a GT-S with 3S-GE engine.
Models for Australia are SX Coupe, SX Liftback, GT-Four, and also 150 units limited edition GT-Four Group A Rallye. The Australian cars are less luxurious than JDM and North American models. Sunroof was only available as an option for SX. Initially, the GT-Four did not come with ABS, which became standard few months after the introduction. In 1993, the Limited Edition WRC Trophy model was offered in Australia. This is basically the SX with sport front seats from the GT-Four, cruise control, and special decals.
In August 1990, the wide body GT-Four A and Convertible were added into the Japanese lineup. Super Live Sound System with 10 speakers became standard on the GT-Four A and optional in other models except the S-R. The 20th Anniversary GT-R came in December 1990 to celebrate 20 years of Celica production. The Celica Convertible was built by American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) in California. It was offered as GT in USA with 5S-FE engine, or as Type G in Japan, and 2.0 GT-i 16 Cabriolet in Europe with 3S-GE engine. The JDM Convertible also has 4WS. The European Celica Cabriolet retained the old style front bumper for 1992, and received the facelift in 1993.
There are three different gearboxes for ST185 GT-Four. The E150F gearbox with 4.285 final gear ratio was installed in the JDM and All-trac. European and Australian models, as well as the RC/ Carlos Sainz/ Group A models, come with the E151F gearbox with 3.933 ratio. The JDM only GT-Four Rally, a limited edition lightweight rally version sold only in Japan (not to be confused with the Australian GT-Four Grp A Rallye model), has the E152F gearbox with close ratio on the 1st through 4th gear and 4.285 final ratio. It also comes with steel wheels and without air conditioning, power windows, or a power antenna. The early model is based on the normal body, and the facelift model is wide body with round fog lights. Also sold in Japan only was the GT-Four V. This is an economy version of normal body without alloy wheels, leather, or System 10, but still comes with fog lights, power windows, and optional sunroof.
Anti-lock brakes (ABS) were available on the GT-S all four years and was available on the GT from 1992 to 1993. ABS, Leather interior, sunroof, and System 10 Premium Sound System are optional on the GT-S and '90–'92 All-trac, and standard on '93 All-trac. With its sport-style interior, power-operated driver's seat, auto tilt-away steering wheel, and cruise control as standard equipment, the All-Trac (known as the GT-Four outside of the US) was the most expensive Celica yet. With a 2.0L turbocharged 3S-GTE producing 149 kW (200 bhp), it was also one of the most powerful Celicas made thus far.
The special rally edition of 5000 units was known as the GT-Four RC in Japan, Carlos Sainz (CS) in Europe (in honour of their famous WRC driver), or Group A Rallye in Australia. Special features include:
- a different intercooler (WTA as opposed to ATA) which Toyota Team Europe wanted so they could more easily tune their WRC car;
- different hood, the emphasis of which is to get rid of heat as fast as possible (instead of scooping in air, as is the case with the standard ST185 hood);
- more aggressively tuned ECU;
- different bumper that is much lighter than the standard one.
Out of 5,000 units, 1,800 were for Japanese market, 3,000 were allocated to Europe, 150 in Australia, 25 in Singapore, and very few made a trip to New Zealand and general markets.
In August 1991 for 1992 model year Toyota facelifted the Celica. Changes included:
- Stiffer anti roll bar was added and suspension spring rates were increased;
- New three-way catalytic converter;
- Improved gear linkage and a shorter gearshift;
- New 5S-FE, producing 100 kW and 196 Nm of torque;
- Front discs were now 277mm and ventilated;
- The front-drive models (except for the North American GT-S, which used the same front bumper as the 4WD models) received a new style bumper;
- North American GT models received standard foglights;
- 15 in wheels on the Z-R, GT, and SX models fitted with Dunlop 205/ 55VR tires;
- Toyota (T) emblems on the hood and trunk;
- Taillights redesign (with smoke red frame);
- New round fog lights for JDM GT-Four A;
- Discontinued models: 4WS S-R, Active Sports, and normal body GT-Four.
- The 'A' was dropped from the 'GT-Four A' and the wide body turbo model was simply know as the GT-Four.
- The Cruise Control Package, SD Package and Luxury Package became optional on the JDM models.
Eddie Murphy made television commercials in Japan for the 5th Generation Celica, promoting the styling and the Super Live Sound System.
For 1994, Toyota completely revamped the Celica line. It was only available in ST and GT trims in the USA for the 1994 model year, but the addition of the optional "Sports Package" to the GT produced GT-S-like handling. The ST had a new 1.8 liter 7A-FE engine, while the GT was powered by the carried-over 2.2 liter 5S-FE, which could also be found in the Corolla and Camry respectively. The ST Celica has 1.8L 105 hp I4 110 Torque, and the GT Celica has a 2.2L 130 hp I4 144 @ 4000 RPM Torque.
In Canada, the GT Liftback with "Sports Package" is badged GT-S. Styling of the new Celicas was acclaimed by most publications as "Supra-esque" with four exposed headlights. Celicas were available in either notchback Coupe or Liftback form, with the GT Sports Package available only on the liftback. New safety equipment in the form of driver (and then later passenger) airbags were standard, and anti-lock brakes were available on all models. Many Celicas also sported CFC-free air conditioning.
Initially the Japanese domestic market (JDM) models were SS-I and SS-II. The ST205 GT-Four was launched in February 1994, and the Convertible in the Autumn of the same year.
Production of the All-Trac, or GT-Four ST205 as it was known outside the US, continued for the Japanese, Australian, European, and British markets. This version was to be the most powerful Celica produced to date, producing 178 kW/ 239 bhp (export version) or 187 kW/ 255 PS (JDM) from an updated 3S-GTE engine. Influenced strongly by Toyota Team Europe, Toyota's factory team in the World Rally Championship, the final version of the GT-Four included improvements such as an all aluminum hood to save weight, four-channel ABS (with G-force sensor), an improved turbocharger (incorrectly known by enthusiasts as the CT20B), and Super Strut Suspension. The 2500 homologation cars built to allow Toyota to enter the GT-Four as a Group A car in the World Rally Championship also sported extras such as all of the plumbing required to activate an anti-lag system, a water spray bar for the Intercooler's front heat exchanger, and the standard spoiler mounted on riser blocks. The car proved to be quite competitive in the 1995 World Championship. However, the team was banned from competition for a year after the car's single victory due to turbocharger fixing - a device that meant there was no air path restriction on the intake - when the jubilee clip was undone this would flick back in to place so as to go un-noticed by inspectors. Toyota has always claimed that they knew nothing of the fix - but opponents say it was one very cleverly engineered device. In some respects this car is a true sports car; in order to qualify for rallying it has a lot of special features and a unique strut arrangement.
In Australia, the ST204 (2.2 liter) was offered in SX and ZR trim levels. The ZR has standard SRS Airbag, fog lights, alloys, and other features. Australia also offered an SX-R model in 1998-1999 which included black/ red interior, white Tachometer, fog lights and alloy wheels. The ST205 was the final GT-Four Celica which was only available in Australia in 1994. There was a limited delivery of only 77 ST205's with each vehicle including an individual numbered plaque in the cabin and Group A Rallye badges on the hatch.
1995 saw the introduction of the third generation convertible. Built off of the GT coupe, the conversion took place in the ASC facility in Rancho Dominguez, California. The vehicle arrived in the US as a partially assembled vehicle. At ASC, the roof was removed and a three-layer insulated and power-operated top was installed, producing a vehicle that was virtually water and windproof.
In August 1995, minor changes were given to all JDM models, and the SS-III was added into the line up. All front drive models received new front bumper and tail lights. The SS-III has standard Super Strut Suspension and side aerodynamic rocker panels. The GT-Four also got rocker panels, restyled rear spoiler, and new alloys.
The 1996 Celica received optional side skirts to improve its aerodynamic efficiency, as well as a redesigned rear spoiler. Also available were optional driving lights in the redesigned grille area (standard on GT models). To celebrate 25 years of Celica, the SS-I and SS-III Special Edition were released in Japan, and the 25th Anniversary ST Limited and GT Convertible marked this occasion in the USA. These Special Edition Celicas have special emblem on the front fenders, and the inside by sunroof, the name Celica is printed on the front seats as well.
For 1997, the only change in the North American Celica was the discontinuation of the GT coupe. Another minor change was given to JDM Celica in December 1997. Projector headlights are optional for all models. The 3S-GE engine on SS-II and SS-III received VVT-i, the SS-III was given a BEAMS Tuned 3S-GE engine. WRC style high rear spoiler returned on the GT-Four and also standard on the SS-III.
In 1998, the underpowered ST model was discontinued, leaving only GT models. In addition, the GT coupe returned after a year's absence. The Celica lineup was simplified even further for 2000 by eliminating all coupes, leaving only the GT Liftback and GT Convertible. In UK, Toyota released the SR based on the 1.8 ST. The SR has full body kit, mesh grille, 16 inch alloys, and upgraded sound system. The GT-Four was still offered in Japan. Also in 2000, Toyota released pictures of their XYR concept car, which would soon become the next Celica.
In late 1999, Toyota began production and sales of the seventh generation Celica. It closely resembled the XYR concept with the exception of the front bumper and rear spoiler. The 2000 model year Celica was an element of Toyota Project Genesis, an effort to bring younger buyers to the marque in the United States.
The Celica came in two different models. The ZZT230 powered by an economical 1.8L 4-cylinder 140hp 1ZZ-FE engine and the ZZT231 powered by a higher-performance 1.8L 4-cylinder 191 hp in Europe and Japan (180hp) 2ZZ-GE version, co-developed with Yamaha. The latter which featured lift control in conjunction with its variable valve timing.
In the USA and Canada the base model with 1ZZ-FE engine is called GT, and the higher performance model with 2ZZ-GE engine is GT-S. The GT-S had a more extensive and advanced system called VVTL-i (Variable Valve Timing and Lift with Intelligence), which is similar to the VVT-i except until 6100rpm, when maximum intake valve lift is increased a fraction further to provide an increase in top-end power, accounting for the 41hp difference. The GT was available in both a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic and the GT-S was available with a close-ratio 6-speed manual and a 4-speed manually shiftable torque converter automatic by Tiptronic.
The Celica enjoyed the spotlight for about a year or so, being that it was one of the few vehicles offering 100hp/ L for under $27,000 USD. Unfortunately, Toyota was too late to the sport compact party—in 2001, Honda released its Integra replacement, the Acura RSX for the 2002 model year, the Type-S model with a 2.0L 4-cylinder 200hp engine, which competed directly with the Celica GT-S. In 2004, for the 2005 model year, the RSX Type-S raised the hp to 210.
On the 2001, 2003 and 2004 GT-S models, the rev limiter is set to 8400RPM while the 2002 and 2005 have it set to 7800 (The RHD Celicas did not incur the reduction in the redline RPM). This difference results in a big hit to performance as the 2ZZ is primarily a high-revving engine, and also making it much more difficult to land in the 'lift' (aggressive cam) rev range on an upshift.
In July 2004, Toyota announced the Celica (as well as the MR2) would be discontinued in the United States at the end of the 2005 model year because of increasing competition and lack of sales. Celica sales hit 52,406 units in 2001, but dropped sharply to 14,856 in 2003. Just 8,710 Celicas were sold in 2004, and only 3,113 were sold in 2005. Many attribute the 2004 loss in sales to the introduction of the cheaper Scion tC.
In May 19 2003 Toyota released a Technical Service Bulletin concerning the model 2000-2002 Celica fitted with the 2ZZ-GE engine. It states the bolt securing the rocker shaft (commonly known as the 'lift bolt') may snap allowing the rocker shaft to rotate. This misaligns the oil passages and consequently will not engage valve lift above 6000rpm. The solution was to replace them with tapered bolts from Toyota.
Japanese models continued to carry SS-I and SS-II trim levels. The SS-I is powered by 1ZZ-FE engine, SS-II comes with 2ZZ-GE engine. The SS-II also can be ordered with Super Strut Package with super strut suspension, rear strut bar, 16-inch alloys, metal pedals, and colored rocker panels. The SS-II has climate control AC with digital display. Options included the choice of the Elegant Sports Version with front lip spoiler and headlight covers, or the Mechanical Sports Version with full body kits. The JDM Celica was updated with minor changes in August 2002.
All the European models have the 6-speed manual transmission, and was just marketed as 1.8 VVT-i and 1.8 VVTL-i 190 or T-Sport, which are the GT and GT-S, respectively.
In 2005, Toyota GB released the Celica GT. This is not the same as GT in North America. The British GT is actually the T-Sport with additional body kits and bigger alloys.
It is worth mentioning that Toyota also released a limited-production version of the 7th generation called the TRD Sports M. This version was rated at 200bhp and featured a reinforced unibody and available TRD engine and suspension components.
In Australia, the Celica was only offered with 2ZZ-GE engine (with 4 wheel disc brakes) in two trim levels, SX and ZR. The SX was fitted with 15-inch alloy wheels CD player, electric windows and mirrors. The ZR has standard moonroof, SRS side and front airbags, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, 6 stack in dash CD player (with tape deck) and aluminium pedals. Optional extras was the 4 speed tip tronic (Automatic), air conditioning and metallic paint. Satellite Navigation became available mid 2002 as an option. Sportivo body kits which is the same as Mechanical Sports Version in Japan, or Action Package in the USA are available. The Australian spec is also sold in New Zealand. Although not officially imported by Toyota, there are many JDM models sold in Singapore and Indonesia. In Thailand and Hong Kong, the Celica is offered in one trim level similar to Australian ZR with 2ZZ-GE engine.
Exporting of the Celica ceased in July 2005. However until mid-May, customers could still order one, although it was advised they took action before that time ended. Overseas, the Celica received a small restyling with new bumpers and headlamps, continuing its sales.
The last Celica was rolled off production line on April 21, 2006. In its last year, the Celica was only sold in Japan.
In Australia, 1981–1999 Toyota Celicas were all assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 as providing "average" protection for their occupants in the event of a crash.
Driver's side SRS airbag is standard in all USA models from 1990. Dual SRS Airbags are standard from 1994. Seat-mounted side airbags are optional from 2000.
In motorsports, the Celica is known for its rallying prowess. The first World Rally Championship (WRC) victory came in 1982 Rally of New Zealand with 2000GT (RA63). From 1983 to 1986, the Group B Celica Twincam Turbo (TA64) won all six WRC events in Africa they entered. Celica GT-Four competed in Group A Rally racing from the 1988 to 1997. Celica GT-Four have won two manufacturer's titles, and four driver's titles. Carlos Sainz was the most successful driver, winning WRC titles with the ST165 in 1990 and the ST185 in 1992. The ST185 also won 1993 and 1994 titles with Juha Kankkunen and Didier Auriol respectively. The ST185's fourth consecutive Safari Rally victory came in 1995, which was also Toyota's 8th victory in this event. Soon after introducing the ST205 in 1995, Toyota Team Europe was banned for 12 months from the WRC because of cheating. Some time after TTE switched to the shorter Toyota Corolla.
Special editions of the GT-Four models were produced for the public in extremely limited numbers (5000) due to homologation demands. They are considered a collector's item by some enthusiasts. The ST185's homogolation version is called the Carlos Sainz (CS, after the driver), or RC in Japan.
In circuit racing, The Celica was raced by Dan Gurney's All American Racers team with factory backing in the IMSA GTU and GTO classes from 1983 to 1988. The team captured many class wins and the GTO Championship in 1987. Slightly modified versions of stock Celicas were also used as the spec car in the Toyota Pro/ Celebrity Race, always held during the weekend of the Long Beach Grand Prix or (from 1976-1983) the United States Grand Prix West until 2005. In 2006 the Scion tC replaced the Celica as the spec car for this race.
Team Racing Project Bandoh created a special rear wheel drive variant of the seventh generation Celica using a 3S-GTE engine. It was entered into GT300 class of the Japanese Grand Touring Championship.
The 1st generation liftback (known as Celica LB Turbo) was used to compete in the DRM between 1977 and 1978, the car was capable of producing 560 BHP. The car was entered by Schnitzer via Toyota Deutschland and was driven by Harald Ertl and Rolf Stommelen for the following season. The car had a limited success scoring only 4th and 8th and was plagued with various problems throughout the two seasons before it was sold to TOM'S in Japan which under company founder, Nobuhide Tachi, it had a successful career. Tachi also had a successful career with the second generation version. Despite its limited success in the series, the DRM liftback was immortalised by Tamiya as a 1/ 12 radio controlled car and a 1/ 24 static model.
Seventh generation Celicas were also successfully campaigned in the NHRA Sport Compact Drag Racing series during the early 2000s. Toyotas run in the NHRA Funny Car class also used Celica bodies, although besides the body, these cars do not share any resemblance to their street counterparts.
The Celica (usually the 1st through 3rd generation Rear-Wheel Drive model powered by the R series engine) is sometimes raced privately in stock car racing, usually in four-cylinder classes at the grassroots level. A less stock version of the Celica with factory backing and development was campaigned successfully by several drivers in the Goody's Dash Series. These Celicas started racing in 2000 and had 6th or 7th generation bodies but a steel tube-frame race chassis and a production based V6 engine that was not available in the street Celica. Robert Huffman won the 2003 Dash Series Championship driving one of these Celicas.1970 - Celica LT, ST, GT introduced 1972 - Celica GTV introduced, first World Rally Championship (WRC) in RAC Rally 1976 - Celica wins Motor Trend Import Car of the Year 1976 - Celica introduced in liftback form; 1-millionth Celica produced in June 1977 1978 - Second generation Celica introduced; wins Motor Trend Import Car of the Year 1979 - Sunchaser semi-convertible introduced. 1981 - Sunchaser production ended. 1982 - Third generation introduced. 1984 - Celica GT-S among Consumer's Digest "Best Buys" and Car and Driver Ten Best Cars 1985 - First full convertible version produced 1986 - Fourth generation; front wheel drive introduced in late 1985, followed by GT-Four in October 1986 1987 - New-generation convertible introduced 1988 - All-Trac/ GT-Four model for export 1990 - Fifth generation introduced. Spaniard Carlos Sainz driving ST165 GT-Four became World Rally Champion (WRC). 1992 - Carlos Sainz won his second WRC title with ST185 GT-Four 1993 - Last year of the GT-S, All-trac Turbo. Juha Kankkunen won his 4th WRC title, driving ST185 GT-Four. 1994 - Sixth generation introduced. Didier Auriol won WRC title with ST185 GT-Four. 1995 - New generation convertible produced. 1997 - "Most Reliable Used Vehicles, MYs '89-'95" J.D. Power & Associates 1999 - Coupe discontinued 2000 - Seventh generation Celica is introduced. 2001 - US Consumer Reports rates Celica GT-S "Best Sports Coupe" "Most Wanted Sport Coupe Under $30,000" Edmunds.com 2002 - US Consumer Reports "Most Reliable Sporty Car"; Edmunds.com "Most Wanted Sport Coupe - - Under $30,000" 2005 - Celica discontinued in North America and Australia. Still in production in Japan. 2006 - Toyota ended the production of the 7th generation Celica in Japan.
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